This article describes a continuous or ongoing event.
The Civic Bank Investment Scandal is a major political scandal in Georgeland, possibly the largest for decades. It is alleged that six members of the Georgeland House of Commons and three Senators, all Liberal Democrats invested in the Civic Bank prior to its collapse at the end of 2005, investments which are suspicious due to the high level of involvement of many of the MPs and Senators in banking issues.
Civic Bank Collapse
The bank, established in 1987, collapsed in 2005 following revelations of embezzlement, fraud and other violations of federal law levelled at eleven of the members of the bank's board. It entered recievership in October 2005.
Investments of MPs Revealed
In January 2006, the recievers revealed the names of all investors in the bank prior to its collapse in compliance with freedom of information laws. Nine of the names were members of parliament representing the Liberal Democratic Party, including the powerful Chairman of the House of Commons committee on Financial Affairs, Bill Robinson, and other members of his committee and its Senate equivilant.
Such investments would be considered a violation of the Public Official Assets Act of 1968, which stipulates that any person recieving a government salary is prohibited from owning stock or otherwise investing in any body or industry over which they have jurisdiction, oversight or power in the 'normal course of their duties'. The six MPs who sit on the financial committees come under that classification, as their committees conduct oversight of banks, among other businesses. This is a conflict of interest under the terms of the POAA.
The nine political figures also allegedly failed to declare their investment in the Civic Bank, which is a violation of the same act. On January 1 every year, the investment portfolios of every person recieving more than G$75,000 of government salary, which includes MPs and Senators, are by law released publicly, and no record shows the investment in the Civic Bank by any of those named.
The penalty for investing in a company over which an individual holds influence on a government payroll is a fine of G$200,000 and/or a minimum of 3 years jail. The penalty for failure to declare assets is a fine of G$10,000 and/or a minimum of 6 months jail.
Figures implicated in the scandal
- Dennis Bowling, MP, member of the House of Commons committee.
- Douglas Easter, MP, member of the House of Commons committee.
- Alan Falco, MP. Falco is not a member of the committee, but he does sit on the Joint House Committee for the Economy.
- Senator Damon Grant, member of the Senate committee.
- Martin Kelvin, MP Not a member of any relavent House committee, but Civic Bank investment was undeclared.
- Senator Simon Kimber, member of the Senate committee.
- Christine Mecham, member of the House of Commons committee.
- Bill Robinson, chairman of the House of Commons committee.
- Bob Shoemaker, member of the House of Commons committee
On 19 January, 2006, the federal Attorney General, David Keeler, announced the Federal Investigation, Security and Information Authority's fraud squad would begin an investigation into the extent of the scandal and to decide whether or not there is enough evidence to send any or all of the nine men to a trial. This decision was scoffed at in some segments of the media as a waste of time - many commentators believed it was nothing more than an attempt to avoid jail time for the MPs and Senators. On the afternoon of January 19, Senator Grant announced his resignation from the Senate, but he refused to speak to the media, saying he was first going to 'talk things over' with his family.
On May 19, FISIA announced its investigation would not be completed until at least Christmas, and that they were interviewing 'hundreds' of 'persons of interest' and had confiscated 'thousands' of documents in an attempt to ascertain who precisely knew what and when they knew it. A progress report is due to be released on July 1.